Names of Recipients:
Ms. Mallory Lau
Mr. Kain Chew
SleepyStar, the simplest way to sweeter dreams, is a company that specialises in retail mattress and furniture via internet and physical store. “Mattresses are to provide people with good rest and sleep. The name SleepyStar came about symbolising people who use our mattress being able to get a good sleep as though they are sleeping amongst the stars,” Ms Mallory Lau, one of the directors of the company, explained.
SleepyStar is a concept that was conjured back in the polytechnic days whereby both directors, Ms Mallory Lau and Mr Kain Chew, took up entrepreneurship courses in Singapore Polytechnic. In their final year project, they had to plan and come up with a business proposal. During the last half of the year, they were required to have hands on practice and turn the proposal into reality. That was the moment when SleepyStar was born. Furthermore, Mr Chew’s father was a veteran in this industry and thus they were able to acquire guidance and resources from him.
Be that as it may, the company did encounter a few knocks as the business progressed. For a start, both directors were not conversant in IT related issues and hence encountered a lot of obstacles creating their website. They sought help from others, such as their poly lecturers, for the website coding issues.
Alas, being a green horn in this industry, the two directors were not clear about the industry and mattresses. “Every mattress is unique in its own way” explained Ms Lau. Nevertheless, the two directors had to learn from experiences and mistakes before gaining a foothold about the industry. Furthermore, they spent most of their time setting up the business and were left with little or no time with their family members.
Eventually, solutions were sought and Mr Chew knew they had to find the right balance between work and family. “When there is time, make full use of it and spend quality time with your family,” Mr Chew advised.
Interestingly, Ms Lau mentioned that there was once whereby a customer wanted to buy a mattress as a 21st birthday gift for their friend. “Which was really interesting as not many people will come up with such an idea, not even myself. There were also customers that were quite open to interact with us. Through such small talks, we were then more equipped with the knowledge to better serve their needs and recommend the most suitable products for them,” Ms Lau shared.
Henceforth, it makes one wonder what keep the directors constantly motivated to excel despite the vast success they already had? Mr Chew responded, “The thought of wanting to be different and not being contented with living just a normal life working for others. Every difficulty will have its own solution. Nothing is impossible.” In addition, Mr Chew shared that his father was his source of inspiration. When he was young, his father came back home all washed out and drained from his work, etched deeply in his memory. He could never forget the flame of fire in his father’s eyes despite his tiredness.
To Ms Lau, her source of motivation came from her aunt, whom she was very close to since young. “My aunt’s dream was to set up her own business. But, before it happened, she passed on. I aspire to fulfil, not only my dreams, but hers as well ever since.” Ms Lau further added: “My father runs his own business as well, in the industrial area. Few years back, he encountered a major setback which hit him really and it took him quite some time to actually stand back up, and move on again. He then became my inspiration as not many can be like him; full of courage and determination.”
Thus, what does entrepreneurship mean to the two directors? “It’s not all about striking it rich, but be someone in life that can make a difference for others. Adapt ideas and make them innovative. Always embrace changes in life. Change your ideas according to the different generations in the market to suit their different needs. Your products must evolve accordingly,” espoused Mr Chew.
Last but not least, the directors have some words of wisdom for budding entrepreneurs. “You need to have a strong will to succeed and the perseverance to see it through. It is not easy; people continuously have their doubts and throw wet blankets at you. However, that is where you have got to be self-motivated and tell yourself that you can do it. You will never accomplish what you set out to do if you have doubts about your own ability,” Mr Chew advocated.
Above all, Ms Lau added, “Be focus and not be distracted by others. Yes, opportunities don’t come often, but don’t blindly jump into it. Do a proper research and analysis about the industry. Apart from that, learn to take care of your own health. If you can’t even take care of yourself, how are you going to fight, take charge and to take care of your business? Most importantly, let your family members understand what you are doing, convince and gain their confidence in you. Show them results, and in time to come, they will give you their support. It is important for your love ones to support you as it is the main source of motivation to an entrepreneur.”
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